Southern Africa generated some headlines when Mugabe insinuated that South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela sold out black South Africans, and that he was interested in his personal freedom and not the economic freedom of the black South Africans.
Mugabe made some negative comments on Nelson Mandela during the Heroes' Day commemorations in Harare, Zimbabwe, where he said that Mandela had allowed the whites to take all the farms in Zimbabwe and he was urging Zimbabweans to take the land from whites. Robert Mugabe employed scathing language on Mandela when he said, "Mandela believed to be equal with the white and made the biggest mistake of ignoring the land issue. What sort of equality was that? These whites had long back given everything to themselves since 1652 when they arrived in Cape Town."
He further went on to say, "Today, everything is in the whites’ hands … These blacks have failed to liberate themselves from white supremacy all because of what Mandela did. The whites claim that everyone is equal in South Africa so why would blacks want to grab the land now." Mugabe is the pioneer of the chaotic and controversial land reform program in Zimbabwe that left many whites disposed of their farms, while the land was given to blacks, who included war veterans who did not know how to use the land and some big politicians and businessmen.
Mugabe's comments have prompted South Africa's ruling African National Congress to issue statements aimed at making Mugabe refrain from further making such comments. The ANC Secretary-General Gwede Manthashe said that Mugabe's comments were baseless and that he had telephoned his ZANU-PF counterpart to refrain Mugabe from making such negative statements against their former president.
It is not surprising that Mugabe made such comments, considering how he is passionate and engrossed with the land issue. The situation in South Africa is nonetheless sadly true. But on the other hand, the situation inZimbabwe is far much worse, and many people have asked why Mugabe is brazen to criticize Mandela when he has presided over an ailing economy that is failing to do enough for its citizens.
“The reality of the matter is that you have destroyed the economy in your country, we continue to create black millionaires in this country including Zimbabwean millionaires. So refrain your presidents from making statements that are unresearched,” Gwede Manthashe said. In fact, Manthashe has called the attacks on Mandela "unwarranted and unfortunate." Which seems like an attempt to keep diplomatic relations in their current good form intact. The goovernemnt in Zimbabwe appeared to be ignorant of Manthashe's warnings.
“Nobody has talked to me about it. If they wrote a letter of protest, it would have been directed to [Ignatius] Chombo (Zanu-PF secretary for administration). I cannot comment on things that have not been communicated to me. The secretary for administration is better placed,” said Ignatius Chombo, the minister of Home Affairs in Zimbabwe and the ZANU-PF secretary for administration. This is one area where the government in Zimbabwe is good at. Remain silent and shed no light pertaining such matters.
Mugabe said that when he asked Jacob Zuma why the whites have everything, the latter replied by saying, "Ask your friend Mandela." Mugabe cemented his point that Mandela made the "biggest mistake" by failing to give blacks the land. Mugabe said, "They (whites) are in control of land, industries and companies and are now the employers of the blacks. These blacks have failed to liberate themselves from white supremacy all because of what Mandela did."
The governments in South Africa and Zimbabwe at times appear to have frosty relations, but more often than not, they quickly resolve these. It remains ironical that Mugabe who has been in charge of a broken nation has the nerve to say that Mandela sold out blacks, even though such statements have the truth in them.